YouTube Takes Pitches for 20 Web TV Channels
July 11, 2011
YouTube has begun taking pitches from TV producers as it tries to fill the 20 coveted positions for YouTube Channels, the site’s soon-to-be-launched platform for professionally produced Web TV content.
With Channels, YouTube intends to create television-like stations that focus on prominent interests, like sports, travel, shopping and food.
According to Peter Kafka of All Things D, executives began holding hour-long meetings with professional producers this summer, sessions in which content creators pitched YouTube on their vision if they were to be granted one of the 20 channels.
And the stakes are high.
According to Kafka, the deals will unfold like this:
Kafka cited people familiar with the matter, and said producers would know whether they landed one of the channels by August or September. This would be in keeping with YouTube’s scheduled rollout of the new design, slated for January 2012.
- YouTube will pay the producers $5 million to create a branded channel for the site
- YouTube will sell ads against that channel until it recoups the $5 million. At that point, ad revenues will be split roughly 50/50
- Content created for the channels will be exclusive to YouTube for one year, meaning producers can’t sell it on Netflix, Hulu, or to other audience-facing networks until that year is up.
- Content creators retain ownership of their programs
Those who land the deals will have exposure to a massive audience, as YouTube caters to the largest online video audience in the world. In addition, the channels will get the advertising and PR muscle of Google-backed YouTube.
The move to create funded, professional, original channels fits in with a new paradigm shift where online video streaming companies are beginning to see an opportunity in creating their own content. Netflix, for example, payed $100 million to be the sole rights holder to House of Cards, an upcoming television series starring Kevin Spacey and produced by David Fincher.